What Design Means to Me


The Design Council recently commissioned a book of original artworks drawn by over 40 leading designers including Sir Terence Conran and Vivienne Westwood.

Seeing the contents of the book obviously inspired me to reflect upon my interpretation of, and feelings towards design.

Some of the slides below use case studies of design to reflect its meaning, shining beacons of designs highest forms and ideologies. They all demonstrate what are for me the vital synonyms of design – communication, creativity, wit, evolution/change, research, knowledge, planning, and of course solutions…

From what is presented in the book, those that resonate with me the most are…


“The issues may be complicated but the solution had better be – simple”

Simplicity for me means clarity, and clarity is the only form of communication, communication being the fundamental purpose of graphic design. The typographic representation of the solution also demonstrates one of my biggest loves in design – it creates a smile in the mind, a visual tie in to the concept of the message.


“The Whole World”

For me the world as we know is designed, it is shaped by us, whether that be the magazines we read, the apps we touch, the films we see, the roads we walk, the cars we drive, the homes we live in or the beds we sleep in. All things are designed, all things are considered, but some are more considered than others of course.

Personally for me, and I’m certain for ALL other designers, our own worlds are consumed by design. I am almost certain that everyone is a designer, whether they know it or not, whether they fulfil their design potential or not, we plan, we communicate, we are creative, and we all find solutions to problems every day. That is design, right?


“A blank sheet of paper”

Aha! The classic blank sheet of paper, representing the untapped potential of an as yet unknown idea, is there anything more exciting in the universe!? The only thing standing between us and limitless possibilities is a very thin sheet of paper a pencil, and a few well hydrated, sober synapses.


“Culture is the antidote to propaganda”

The slide entitled “The Whole World” propelled me to think about everything being designed, and that got me thinking that everything has been determined and is by default controlled.

The phrase “Culture being the Antidote to Propaganda” reminds me of the rebellion that gurgles deep in a designers belly, it reminds me that as designers we have potential to create the opposite of the world that has been shaped and pushed before us, and remember – we can all be designers.


Well done to the 40 or so designers for summing it all up with a single image, it took me 1000 words just to start thinking about it. But here is my attempt…

Sam is the Multimedia Designer at Aawen Design Studio, Cornwall, UK